Just what the doctor ordered

No, not swine flu vax. Still don’t have access. And not a healthy diet or steady exercise. Because I prefer organic unhealthy and sporadic respectively, thank you very much.

No, the Rx of which I speak was a solo trip to New York for personal and professional reasons. Was it a success? Aye.

Seeing old friends has always been my drug of choice. It makes me feel so intensely good I can’t put into words how I value faces and voices that span all the phases of my seriously stunted personal development. It was miraculous to see some of the people I thought had disappeared into the aether. (Yeah, I went Victorian on that one. I debated the contemporary spelling, but I just finished a George Eliot book and am sprinkling my life with the nineteenth century. For fun and profit. Well, really just fun, but you never know.) So it was lovely to see half a dozen people I value above sleep. (Yes, you five, I did just say I value you above that which I’ve dedicated my life to finding, achieving, and relishing. How do you like them apples?) All this in a setting where I wasn’t chasing a small child or trying to keep him occupied with things he likes so I can do what I like: sitting like a lump discussing books and food and politics and life.

It was also a great relief to get in one more conference before the Baby Formerly Known as Vomitron arrives. I had intended to polish and publish as many articles as I could before next fall and to apply to PhD programs as Peanut settled into what I hope will be a better year for both of us. The onset of 15 weeks of nausea made me reconsider, deflate lethargically, then kick the plans into high gear. The conference reassured me that 1)Some of my work makes me a viable candidate for consideration at the journals and Universities to which I’d apply; 2)I must continue to function at as high a level as possible for the next few months, because academia will just not be possible in 2010; and 3)the stuff on which I wanted to focus my scholarship ten years ago may actually start making its way into the mainstream soon, which is freaking awesome timing, all things considered (and Vomitron willing).

But the highlight of the trip was the food. I love good food, and I certainly have access in San Francisco and Berkeley. Really good food. Really, really good….but here’s the thing. Food eaten on vacation with friends in New York City in the just-beginning-to-crisp autumn achieves a whole new level of great over that which is sandwiched in between gulps and eyebrows that remind, constantly, exactly what the babysitter is costing. Some of the dishes in NY (gnocchi alla sorrentina, a grecian omelette, and pret a manger soup grabbed between conference panels) were fine but not spectacular. And some were as well balanced and nuanced as anything I’d had before (a bread pudding of perfect consistency, a brilliant artisan cheese and local veggies omelette, the freaking mindblowing TKO and linzers at Bouchon, and a brie sandwich on cranberry baguette).

But the absolute best time, money, and calories spent were achieved via a raging 25-month sheeps’ milk local artisan cheese from the farmer’s market is still coating my palate with a NYC magnet, pulling me to go back. And telling me that despite my instincts, there need be no punctuation in the above cheese’s hyper-adjectival clause. Cause a pause would ruin the magic, yo.

Believe me, cheese guy, if I could afford to, I would be back tomorrow. Because I have to get more of that cheese and give it to all my friends. Heck, I’ll even bring Peanut this time. Because he should totally get to see NYC at night in autumn. I loved it. Even more delightful this time than it was 13 years ago.

(Holy crap I’m old. Way to kill the mood about a great trip and future successes by recalling how many years have passed since I was vibrant and carefree. Geez. I need more of that cheese to salve my wounds. Oh, look. Brought home a pound. Good thinking.)